Opinion: Tribune Publishing apologizes for fake bonus offer in phishing-simulation email
In an attempt to enroll employees in a mandatory training against email fraud, the company dangles bonuses.
.” A constructive phishing simulation needn’t demoralize a workforce already fed up with corporate cutbacks.“It just seemed rather disrespectful for the company to use this as a lure, like the promise of a bonus as a lure to get people to fall for something that was fake to identify people who they thought needed cybersecurity training — especially having to take pay cuts and the way things are going in our industry,” says Martin, who had moved into an expensive area of Orlando because of its proximity to a newsroom that Tribune recently closed. “It kind of felt like a slap in the face and tone-deaf.”
The Sentinel’s guild sent out this statement:Max Reinsdorf, a spokesman for Tribune Publishing, says the company regrets the ploy:ADADToday the company conducted a regular, internal test to assess and reduce its current phishing and malware risk level. Based on input provided by the company’s cybersecurity team and advisers, the content of that test included language regarding employee bonuses. Having fallen victim to attacks of this nature before, the company recognized that bad actors use this type of language regularly, and decided to use the language to simulate common phishing scams.
The company had no intention of offending any of its employees. In retrospect, the topic of the email was misleading and insensitive, and the company apologizes for its use.When the Erik Wemple Blog posted that statement on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, several Tribune Publishing journalists noted that they hadn’t yet received the apology: headtopics.com
By early evening, the apology arrived in employees’ inboxes.Tribune Publishing used the platform ofcomputer-security awareness outfit KnowBe4for its phishing simulation. Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, told this blog via email: “It’s up to the customer to decide which campaigns they want to run, and if they want to use system templates that are known to work, or create their own,” he noted. “The latter happened here. They took a community-submitted template and significantly modified it. That backfired. We talked to the Trib and we understand they have sent an apology to their staff.”Read more: The Washington Post »
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